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Full text of "My Country And My People"

PROLOGUE   TO   PART   TWO

WE have now surveyed the mental and moral constitution of
the Chinese people, and the ideals of life which influence the
fundamental pattern of Chinese life. It remains to make a
study of Chinese life itself in its sexual, social, political, literary
and artistic aspects. Stated briefly, these will cover Chinese
women, society, governments, literature and art, together
with a special chapter devoted to the art of living as the
Chinese have conceived and practised it. These arrange
themselves again into two groups. The first three are necessarily
connected, for an understanding of the life of women and the
home will lead to a consideration of the Chinese social life,
and only from a true understanding of the Chinese social life
will it be possible to understand the administration of justice
and government in China. The study of these visible aspects
of Chinese life will naturally lead to an inquiry into the subtler
and less known problems of Chinese culture, especially in the
field of art, with an outlook and a history of development
peculiar to the Chinese people and totally different from the
West The Chinese culture is one of the truly indigenous
cultures of the world, and as such will be found to offer many
interesting points of comparison with Western culture.

For culture is a product of leisure, and the Chinese have had
the immense leisure of three thousand years to develop it. In
these three thousand years they have had plenty of time to
drink tea and look at life quietly over their teacups, and from
the gossip over the teacups they have boiled life down to its
essence. They have had plenty of time, too, to discuss their
forefathers, to ponder over their achievements and to review
the successive changes of the modes of art and of life, and to
see their own in the light of the long past. And from this
gossiping and pondering history came to have a great meaning:
it came to be spoken of as the "mirror" which reflects human
experience for the benefit of the present and which is like a

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